12-07-2022  9:54 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 31 August 2022

For years, our education system has faced challenges in attracting, recruiting, and retaining qualified teachers – challenges that were made worse by the pandemic. As children across the country start the 2022-2023 school year, too many schools are struggling to fill vacancies for teachers, including with qualified teachers, and other critical school professionals – such as bus drivers, paraprofessionals, nurses, and mental health professionals – positions that are essential to help our students recover academically, access the mental health supports they need, and thrive in and out of the classroom.

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new efforts to strengthen the teaching profession and support schools in their effort to address teacher shortages as the new school year begins.

Strengthening the workforce

The $130 billion in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) directed to the nation’s K-12 schools have allowed school districts across the country to invest in teacher pipeline programs, increase compensation for teachers, and hire more professionals across the education workforce. ARP funding has helped school districts increase the number of school social workers by 54%, increase the number of school counselors by 22%, and increase the number of school nurses by 22% compared to years prior to the pandemic.  

Today, leading talent recruitment and job platforms are announcing a series of new actions to make it easier for states and school districts to source, recruit, and hire job seeking teachers and school professionals, and to help more Americans find jobs in education:

  • ZipRecruiter is launching a new online job portal specifically dedicated to K-12 school jobs. This hub will showcase job openings across public schools throughout the United States, including teachers, nurses, guidance counselors, social workers, mental health counselors, librarians, and more. Schools, districts, and states can have their open roles included for free.
  • Handshake will help college students explore careers in education. In October 2022, Handshake will host a nationwide free virtual event to help current undergraduate students learn about pathways in the field of education, including teachers, guidance counselors, school mental health specialists, and school psychologists. Alongside the event, they will publish a list of all schools and districts hiring students and college graduates for jobs this year.
  • Indeed is announcing that it will facilitate virtual hiring fairs for educators throughout the country. These events will specifically focus on the hiring of teachers, administrators, counselors, and other staff. Participating entities will gain access to their free suite of hiring tools to manage the end-to-end hiring process, from job postings through interviews.

New Actions and Resources Strengthen the Educator Pipeline and Address Shortages

Today, the Department of Education (ED) and the Department of Labor (DOL) have issued a joint letter to state and local education and workforce leaders encouraging them to take a series of actions to address teacher and school staff shortages and invest in the teaching profession, including:

  • Paying teachers a livable and competitive wage. Secretaries Cardona and Walsh are encouraging governors and district leaders to use American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds and the $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds to increase teacher pay. On average, teachers make about 33 percent less than other college-educated professionals. Adjusted for inflation, the average weekly wages of public school teachers have only increased $29 between 1996 and 2021.
  • Expanding high-quality programs that prepare and support teachers, including registered teacher apprenticeship programs. DOL is committing to prioritize the education sector in future apprenticeship funding, including its next round of over $100 million in apprenticeship grants.

National Unions and State Organizations Expand Teacher Apprenticeship Programs

National organizations representing teachers, state school chiefs, governors, and teacher colleges are announcing today that they are working together to expand high-quality registered teacher apprenticeship programs, teaching residencies, and Grow Your Own programs.

 Today the White House is holding a Public Service Loan Forgiveness Day of Action.

Earlier this year, the Biden-Harris Administration made temporary changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program to make sure teachers and school staff can access the loan forgiveness they are eligible for. As part of today’s Day of Action, leading education organizations, including the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association, are working to ensure that school staff across the nation are able to take advantage of the temporary changes to the program. To benefit from the temporary changes, borrowers must apply and certify their employment for the period of time they wish to count toward PSLF using the PSLF Help Tool. For more information, visit www.PSLF.gov. The temporary changes end on Oct. 31, 2022. The White House is urging eligible teachers to take advantage today before time runs out.

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